Delhi pollution: NGT slams govt, SC to hear plea over rising smog

Odd-even scheme Delhi government to approach NGT for exemptions to women two-wheelers on Monday

Roundup: Local gov't in Indian capital city scraps odd-even formula

The Delhi government on Monday requested the National Green Tribunal to exempt women drivers and two-wheeler users in the odd-even road rationing arrangement for at least one year, admitting that the existing public transport system was not adequate enough to accommodate them.

"We can not ignore the pollution", the Supreme Court bench said, adding that it will hear the plea today itself after finishing the matters listed on its board.

Meanwhile, the almost week-long spell of toxic smog enveloping the national capital continued today, with reduced visibility in some areas leading to cancellation of trains in Delhi.

"The Supreme Court today agreed to hear a petition filed by advocate RK Kapoor which seeks immediate measures to check the rising pollution in Delhi and it's surrounding areas, which has become an global headline for a week now", reports said.

The NGT had last Saturday given a conditional nod to the Aam Admi Party government's decision to implement the odd-even vehicle rationing scheme for five days from today, ordering that no exemption should be allowed to "any person or officer and two-wheelers".

"The state government still went ahead with the scheme, even though their own Delhi Pollution Board said it was not effective, and in fact, worsened the situation in phase-1 and phase-2".

Before the third stint of the policy could take off, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) raised some valid questions, which effectively coaxed the government into shelving the scheme.

The national capital region has been experiencing dense smog for about a week, forcing the authorities to enforce emergency measures such as banning construction activities and brick kilns. Over the weekend, the government used fire trucks to spray water in parts of the capital, but the measures have had little effect.

A USA embassy measure showed levels of poisonous PM2.5 had reached 495 this morning, according to Reuters. The US-based passenger carrier United Airlines temporarily suspended its Newark-IGI airport flights due to concerns over poor air quality in New Delhi.

The AAP administration was in touch with environmental scientists and continuously monitoring the alarming pollution level which has left people gasping for breath.

Regarding the current status of population, Rai said that in the report from the last 48 hours, a decline has been recorded in the pollution level for the last six hours.

After the hearing, Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal called for an emergency meeting, to discuss the conditions put forth by NGT.

The state and union governments chose to reopen schools today after closing them temporarily for a few days last week. We are all living in hell, " said Menon, a mother of two teenage daughters.

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